And after what I saw in yesterday's 5-4 loss, it better not be Brett Myers, either.
"I don't know who is going to start Saturday,'' Scott Eyre said.
Ah, don't be so sure, Scotty.
Here's what I do know: Manuel plays for today at this time of year. And he doesn't play scared. There was a theory yesterday that he was doing just that, unloading the entire revolver in an effort to rally from a 4-0 hole and win Game 2, fearful of playing the next two games in some ridiculous weather conditions in Colorado.
Why else would he pitch both Blanton and Happ? Why else would he run Lee, his complete-game winner of Game 1, for Matt Stairs?
To me, that's a guy who is not scared, who manages the way his team plays.
"Hard, let the chips fall where they may,'' Jayson Werth had described it the day before.
Manuel might have been the only one not holding his breath when Lee went in to pinch-run in the bottom of the ninth, representing the tying run, the potential for a close play at the plate as real as it was frightening.
Well, no, that's not right. Lee wasn't holding his breath, either.
"I was making moves out there that if I could have picked some other things to do, I would probably did it,'' said the manager.
It is fair to argue there were plenty of other things he could have done yesterday. But not many. He could have run Kyle Kendrick instead of Lee, but that would have burned a pitcher who might have come in handy had the game been tied in extra innings. He could have used Eyre, who replaced Happ with bases loaded and no one out in the seventh and allowed just a run - the winning one.
He had plenty of options that seemed better than Brett, who was all over the place, and right down the middle.
"You can write whatever you want to write, and you can voice your opinion and everything,'' Manuel said. "Sometimes those are chances you have to take . . . ''
Especially this year. Manuel's not scared. He's a pragmatist. As he noted yesterday, he's been piecing together his bullpen from the first game of the season, forced by a suspension, injuries and ineffectiveness into trial and error, trial and error, trial and error.
There was a time, before Charlie stood on that float in that pinstriped suit, when the angst over what he did in a game - or often didn't do - would be much greater this morning. Now it's a debate about guts or no guts.
Consider this: Manuel used every position player other than Paul Bako to try to win yesterday's game. He threw four members of last season's starting rotation at the Rockies: Cole Hamels, Blanton, Happ, Myers. He went to Ryan Madson in the ninth to keep the game within a run.
Is he scared for not going to Brad Lidge there? Hardly. Manuel's a pragmatist. And he can count. A 2-0 lead in a best-of-five series was worth playing this one all-in, especially with weather in Colorado threatening to push back the schedule for a day.
As for not trusting his relievers? Eyre made the point that no one's role really changed yesterday, that Manuel simply subbed in Happ and Blanton for Tyler Walker and Clay Condrey, who were left off the roster. And, as the game emphasized, everyone is a reliever now. Happ, Blanton, Pedro - even Hamels, who only threw 83 pitches - should be enough pitching to at least stretch this series to a Game 5 back here Tuesday.
"He managed today the way he managed all year,'' Eyre said. "He had two solid guys who could get outs in the bullpen and he used them.''
And, it should be noted, he nearly won.
Which is the whole point.
Someone asked Manuel if he thought Blanton could be an effective starter tomorrow after throwing 19 pitches.
"I played 20 years,'' the manager said. "I've been around the game 47 years . . . I've seen guys come back and pitch 3 or 4 days in a row who are starters.
"How about that?''
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